Common Deramaxx Side Effects

Although non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help manage the symptoms of canine osteoarthritis, recent publicity on Deramaxx side effects and risks have caused some owners to consider the safety of this widely prescribed medication.

What Is Deramaxx?

Deramaxx is a brand-name for the medication deracoxib, one of the newest forms of NSAIDs known as COX-2 inhibitors. These drugs help control dog joint pain and inflammation associated with canine arthritis, osteoarthritis (OA), hip dysplasia and surgery by blocking the protein cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2 ). This enzyme is primarily responsible for the creation of substances that produce pain and swelling as part of the infection-fighting process. Deramaxx has helped manage bone and joint-related disorders in many dogs. However, cases of serious negative side effects like organ failure, high blood pressure, ulcers and other forms of internal bleeding, have been reported in a number of animals since Deramaxx received FDA approval in 2002. Understanding the potential risks and benefits associated with the drug can help dog owners decide the best option for managing their pet's arthritis and related disorders.

Potential Side Effects of Deramaxx

Deramaxx works by blocking the function of COX-2, one of three varieties of COX enzymes. Upon the introduction of prescription COX-2 inhibitors, this protein was believed to focus on immune system functions like pain and inflammation, while COX-1 was thought to help maintain the kidneys and protect the stomach lining. However, recent research indicates COX-2 plays a role in infection fighting and renal and gastrointestinal functions. It is suggested by many scientists and animal medical experts that inhibiting the effects of the enzyme may have adverse effects on the kidneys, stomach and other important systems. Changes in perspectives on COX-2 were greatly influenced by reports of serious complications and fatalities among dogs taking Deramaxx. Some of the most commonly reported adverse side effects related to the drug include:

  • kidney damage or failure - change in water intake, increased urination, changes in urine odor
  • gastrointestinal ulcers/GI disorders - loss of appetite, vomiting, dark of bloody stool, diarrhea, constipation
  • liver damage or failure - jaundice-yellowing eyes, skin or gums
  • high blood pressure
  • lack of coordination
  • behavioral changes - restlessness, lethargy
  • allergic reaction - scratching, facial swelling, seizures, sudden vomiting or diarrhea, shock

Owners observing these effects or any other sudden physical or behavioral changes while their dog is taking Deramaxx are advised to contact their veterinarian. Such reactions may indicate an emergency requiring medical attention.

Tips for Using Deramaxx Safely

There are guidelines that can help you decide whether your dog is a good candidate for Deramaxx. The drug is not intended for use among dogs that are pregnant or nursing; have a history of liver, kidney or heart disorders; currently using another NSAID; prone to appetite loss or dehydration; have NSAID allergies. Many animal care experts also recommend dogs undergo kidney and liver screenings prior to taking Deramaxx. Blood and gastrointestinal tests may also help determine whether your pet has a related problem that could be made worse through Deramaxx use. If you select the medication to help manage your dog's pain or inflammation, watch your pet closely for any negative side effects. Your veterinarian may advise you to discontinue Deramaxx upon observing adverse and potentially harmful reactions.

Managing your dog's osteoarthritis or other painful disorders can be a stressful and difficult experience. In the search for options to help control your dog's condition, it's important to review the benefits and risks of all medications, including widely prescribed drugs like Deramaxx.